Elliot Paul Christensen, a beloved figure and a pillar of the community, has passed away at the age of 74. Elliot was born on February 3, 1949, in Milwaukee, WI to his loving parents Elliot and Betty Christensen. He was a caring husband, devoted father, and doting grandfather.
Throughout his life, Elliot's remarkable journey led him to leave an indelible mark on the grocery industry. He began his career as a bagger with the Kroger Company in Milwaukee before ascending the ladder of success and transitioning into management. Elliot eventually found his calling with the Kohl's Supermarket Chain. However, his greatest achievement came in July of 1982 when he and his brother Dennis purchased a grocery store at the Sterling Shopping Center in Austin, MN. They called their store, Elden's IGA Foodliner, short for Elliot and Dennis.
In January of 1997, Elliot and Dennis sold their store in Austin and acquired a Holiday Grocery Store in Alexandria, MN and changed the name to Elden’s Fresh Foods. This became more than just a grocery store; it became a gathering place for the community. With dedication and perseverance, Elliot spent 56 years in the grocery business. His commitment to excellence and passion for serving others shone through in every aspect of his work.
Elliot married his high school sweetheart, Linda Cielak on July 6, 1968, at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Milwaukee, WI. Elliot will be fondly remembered for his self-proclaimed World-Famous Chili, Sunday Stir-fry and eating at fine restaurants. He believed that food had a unique way of bringing people together. His family will cherish memories made during family trips to Sanibel Island, Disney World, Hawaii, and Madden’s on Gull Lake, holidays, and just sitting around the table talking about politics, life, playing scrabble, lovingly poking fun at each other.
Beyond his professional achievements and love for food, Elliot was known for his tough love, incredible sense of humor, and being present at all of his grandchildren's sporting events. As a mentor to many and a friend to all who crossed paths with him, he left an everlasting impact on those who were fortunate enough to know him.
In addition to establishing himself as an esteemed businessman, Elliot also played an active role within various organizations. He graduated from John Marshall High School in Milwaukee, WI in 1967 and continued his education by taking classes at the University of Southern California. Elliot's dedication extended to his community as he served as Past President of the Austin Country Club, past President and Board of Director for the MGA (Minnesota Grocers Association), strong supporter and past Board Member of Legacy of the Lakes Museum, and past Chair and Board Member of Knute Nelson Foundation. He was also a former Board member of Affiliate Foods Midwest and AWG (Associated Wholesale Grocers). In 2015, Elliot and Dennis received well-deserved recognition when they were awarded the Minnesota Grocer of the Year. In 2022, he and Dennis were honored with the Ruth McDonald Award in Philanthropy for their outstanding contributions.
On September 23, 2023, Elliot's journey came to an end at St. Cloud Hospital due to complications stemming from heart surgery. His passing leaves a void that will be impossible to fill, as his kind, loving, and generous spirit was an inspiration to all who knew him.
Elliot's life will be celebrated during services held in Alexandria, MN. Visitation will be held on Friday, September 29, 2023, from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM at Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory located at 659 Voyager Drive NW. Another visitation will take place on September 30, 2023, from 12:30 PM until 1:30 PM at The Church of St. Mary on Irving St., Alexandria. Following the visitations, a Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Alexandria at 1:30 PM.
Elliot Paul Christensen is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Linda Christensen; his daughter Tricia (Craig) Buysse; his son Elliot (Jr) Christensen; and his cherished grandchildren Maddi Buysse, Kiera Christensen, Ethan Buysse, and Orion Christensen and his loving 4-legged friend, Elden. He is survived by his siblings Diane (Jim) Groth, Cheryl (Richard) Conrad, Dennis (Kathy) Christensen, Tim (Dawn) Christensen, Kristine (Tony) Lenhof, Dale Christensen, and James (Kathy) Christensen. Elliot also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Elliot's memory will forever be honored and celebrated by those whose lives he touched. His legacy will be carried on through the love and resilience of his family and friends. He will be remembered as a devoted husband, a caring father and grandfather, a passionate businessman, and an unwavering community supporter and friend to many.
As we bid farewell to Elliot Paul Christensen, let us take solace in the memories we shared with him. May his spirit continue to guide us as we navigate life's challenges.